Karan Koron カランコロン

geta from HamamatsuyaI’ve been wanting to get a pair of geta (Japanese wooden glogs) and today was the day. I actually received them as an early birthday present!

I went to the same Yanaka Ginza shop–the Hamamatsuya–where I bought a pair of setta sandals last fall. I loved the setta so much, and the owner of the shop was so nice (I’ve stopped in to say hello to her numerous times since then) that this is the only place I will buy my Japanese footwear in Tokyo.

walking Hebi-dōri (Sendagi, Tokyo)The geta that I selected are made of a single piece of kiri (paulownia) wood, which is fairly light in weight, yet hard. It has a beautiful grain, too. I also selected fashionable byakuroku (whitish green) hanao (cloth thongs), which give the geta a fresh, cool look. Perfect for Japan’s hot summer.

I wore the geta around my neighborhood and then to dinner in Nezu. They are quite comfortable, and I love the karan koron karan koron sound that they make as I stroll along.

This makes one recall the Matsuo Bashô (1644-94) poem:

Summer evening / Dawn light comes in the echoes / The sound of geta

Natsu no yo ya kodama ni akuru geta no oto

Hamamatsuya okamisanしばらく前から下駄を買おうと思っていましたが、今日はやっと買いにいけました。というより、少し早めの誕生日のプレゼントに買っていただきました。







Big Names in Tokyo Rakugo & Setta 東京落語の名跡と雪駄

Seta from shop in Yanaka GinzaIt turns out that some prominent Tokyo rakugoka lived in my neighborhood. San’yûtei Enchô (1839-1900) lived about ten minutes from my place, as did Kokontei Shinshô V (1890-1973) and Kokontei Shinchô III (1938-2001). There are doubtless others, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other rakugoka still live in this great old area of town.

I stopped at a Japanese sandal shop in the Yanaka Ginza yesterday and had a nice conversation with the owner. She is the fourth-generation owner/ sandal maker, and the shop has been there for more than a hundred years. If I remember correctly, she said it was established in Meiji 24 (1891). She said many rakugoka buy their sandals (setta) here, so I decided this would be a good place to get a new pair, too.

I also bought a pair of geta at this shop!

僕が今住んでいる近所に、有名な東京落語家が住んでいたということが分かりました。僕の部屋から10分ぐらい行ったところに、三遊亭 圓朝 (1839-1900)をはじめ、5代目古今亭 志ん生 (1890-1973)も3代目古今亭 志ん朝 (1938-2001)も住んでいたらしい。とても雰囲気のいい古い下町で、他にも住んでいたでしょう。今もすんでいると言われたらびっくりしませんね。